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Alamo / rental car damage scam

1 United States Review updated:
Contact information:

The following is basically how I complained to the Better Business Bureau:

I recently rented from Alamo rental car in MN on March 15th, 2009 and returned it the evening of March 22nd, 2009. I had no problems with the rental car nor was there any damage done to the rental car. I parked it in the return area for rental cars at the Duluth Airport where I rented the car. The return went without incident. To my surprise, I just received a letter dated April 7th, 2009 stating that there was some unspecified "damage" done to the car which they don't want to document until they receive payment. Their claim number [protected]-EXAM. The letter states that I am to send insurance information to an address in Tulsa, OK to their damage recovery department.

This is a scam letter. It could be the corporation scamming as I did not incur any damage to the vehicle.

It could be an employee scam as some of the details seem to be correct--dates, etc. which suggest someone had access to the database to come up with this.

It could be some kind of hacker scam which obtained information through Alamo's database. The reason I believe this is possible is that the logo on the letter looks not well defined, there is a typo in it and they are asking for information that Alamo probably has already. Also, there are recent complaints I've seen from other Alamo customers posted on the Internet who received this type of letter and then call the company to find there is no record of this complaint.

Further, the payment address for the damage recovery department is listed as one in Atlanta on the bottom of the letter and one in Tulsa (PO Box 22300, Tulsa, OK [protected]) on the return envelope.

So, if this is a scam being perpetrated by Alamo, I'm complaining about that to the BBB. If it's someone else--employee or hacker--everyone be aware that this is happening. It may not be Alamo's doing (outside of having bad data security).

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Comments

  • Da
      14th of Apr, 2009
    +1 Votes

    I just the same letter yesterday!!! I rented a car in Fargo, North Dakota. Picked it up during a blizzard and hardly travelled with the car. When I returned the car, I went to the counter and all I was asked was did you get the mileage? I said, "oops I forgot", he said "oh well, I will just estimate it" and "did you put gas in it"? It was too cold for anyone to go outside and check the car. Keep in mind the airport and the car rental are no more than 200 steps to the actual car!!! I signed off and said "have a nice day". Then I got the exact same thing in the flipping mail!!!

  • Ke
      17th of Apr, 2009
    +1 Votes

    I had the same experience. Rented a car from Alamo in Houston March 24-27, 2009. Returned the car in good condition and the employee checking me said I was "good to go." (He had plenty of time to check the car because I was on crutches). I received the same letter from the Tulsa Damage Recovery Department postmarked April 8, 2009. When I called the number on the letter I was informed that they had no documentation as of yet, but it was noted that the car had hail damage. I encountered no hail during my trip, but heard on the radio as I was returning the car about a hail storm that was in the area. If there is in fact any damage I bet they are trying to make me pay for something that happened after the car had been returned.

    I've been advised not to provide any credit card or insurance info until they actually provide documentation that any damage occurred while the car was on my watch. I have contacted my credit card company who assures me that they will cover the damages if I provide a variety of documents (that will require some persistence to get from Alamo). In the meantime I have filed a report with the BBB. The whole thing indeed wreaks of "scam". The funny thing is that the person at Damage Recovery who I spoke to was named C. Crook. How apropos.

  • Br
      30th of Apr, 2009
    +1 Votes

    I too had two run-ins with Alamo. I'm sure they are not the only ones that pull these types of scams, but I wonder why 20/20 and Dateline reporters don't do more segments on unscrupulous rental car companies!

    I ordered the car through my airline. When I picked up the car, the clerk made it sound like I was putting a deposit down incase of damage, but I can't remember the exact pre-scripted terms he used. I said no to everything extra he asked me to place on car including extra insurance. I signed and got the car. After checking the document more I was being charged a new set of taxes and fees on top of the price I already paid through the airline. They also signed me up for "CDW" (in code so you don't know what it stands for) Collision Damage Waiver, or extra insurance that I said no to. When you call they will say, "You signed for it." As if after getting off the plane, standing in line for the car, and holding people in line up behind you, you are going to read the entire rental agreement for 20 minutes. I mistakenly assumed that what I told the clerk was represented in the contract I signed.

    Customer service graciously returned 1/2 the money they stole from me for the CDW. That seems to be par to stop people from complaining too much.

  • Ja
      14th of Apr, 2011
    +1 Votes

    ALMOST the same thing happened to me but this time it IS Alamo! When I rented the car in Alabama, I inspected the car thoroughly and when I dropped it off in Atlanta, GA (22 hours later), the guy on the receiving end literally looked underneath the car (as if I was supposed to do the same upon picking up the car) and pointed out a minor damage. I was surprised to see him find damage there and the fact that he even looked underneath the front bumper! I told him that I did not even inspect the car underneath the front damage as I was only looking at the outside, what was easily viewed and accessible but now I am being charged for the damages I did not cause to the vehicle. I am fighting these allegations but so far no luck. I will most likely be making a BBB claim and possibly hiring an attorney.

  • Bu
      4th of Feb, 2013
    0 Votes

    I just got one of these letters too! I rented a car out of Houston. I had the car for less than 24 hrs. I returned it in perfect condition, as an Alamo employee gave me a receipt with mileage, time stamp, and I said to her, " I had no problems", she said everything looks fine. Two months later I got a not very official looking letter too! Asking to make a claim to my insurance for $360 for unspecified damages.
    I think this scam is happening all over the country, according to all of the postings.

  • Bk
      17th of May, 2013
    0 Votes

    I too just rented a car from Alamo it BWI Maryland and returned it 3 hours later at Enterprise in Lexington Park, MD. I never even parked the car, I stopped along the way only to fuel the car up and dropped it off. The van certainly wasn't perfect as it was a rental mini van with over 25, 000 miles on it. Nobody inspected the car upon picking it up or dropping it off. Now i am receiving a letter of unknown "damage". These jokers think I am going to just hand over my insurance and credit card info to process a claim. Its especially a red flag that they provide NO info about the incident. I have since contacted the "Damage Recovery Unit" which has interpreted my asking for info as a "dispute" They have responded 3 times yet never actually gave ANY info. I have contacted the Attorney General in MD as this is a VERY widespread practice for Enterprise and its subsidiaries Alamo and National. I would RUN from these people and never do business with them. Your turn is coming if you chance it.

  • En
      18th of May, 2013
    0 Votes

    bkdlays,
    We’ve taken note of your concern and would like to have the opportunity to look into this for you. Please send us a detailed email to care[at]enterprise.com including the exact rental location information, your contact information, your rental agreement or claim number and any further information regarding your experience.
    When emailing, please list Reference Number 130517-002065 in the subject line. We look forward to hearing from you.
    Respectfully,
    Carol H.
    Social Media Specialist
    Enterprise Rent-A-Car

  • No
      30th of Aug, 2017
    0 Votes

    I had a similar experience with Alamo - they are currently claiming damage to a mini van we rented for a family vacation back in April. I am President's Circle and have rented hundreds of cars through Hertz, mostly at the Miami airport location, I've NEVER had a customer service issue or problem with any rental since joining their rental program in 1997. My wife handled our vacation plans and booked the van with Alamo. We rented the car at a counter three stories above where the vans were parked and were told to 'choose any van in row 9.' We entered the dimly lit parking garage and, with 4 children just having completed a six hour stint in two airports, we chose the first van in the row - there was NO ONE to direct us to row 9, help us choose a van, inspect the van, etc. We loaded it up, jumped in and drove off - we drove two hours and parked the van in a hotel for less than a week. We the returned the van to Ft. Meyers, where a representative carefully inspected the van in the outside daylight and noticed some damage, which was hardly obvious to the average renter and had CLEARLY been repaired some time ago. The aggressive and accusatory tone of the Alamo agent (when simply pointing the damage out would have sufficed), set the tone for the next several months of harassing letters and phone calls (mostly on the weekend) - which continue to this day (now August 30). There was never any constructive phone call - it went straight to aggressive, predatory-like collection calls. You would think, if Alamo were interested in a legitimate business operation, they may wish to maturely engage a renter who is a longstanding, good customer of their competition - not the case. It's a shame that we spend valuable time and money on a family vacation, only to have Alamo's baseless and agressive predatory business practices become our most enduring memory. Clearly pre-existing, long-ago repaired damage.

  • Al
      31st of Aug, 2017
    0 Votes

    @nooneyja nooneyja, we appreciate it when customers tell us about their experiences. I assure you that it's never our intention to inconvenience our customers. We would like to speak with you further. Please email ehiescalationscc@mailca.custhelp.com with your contact information, exact rental office location, claims, rental agreement, and reservation numbers and the details above so we can address this situation. Thank you. – Carol H.

  • Ma
      29th of Jul, 2018
    0 Votes

    I rented a car April 8 - 10, 2018 at New Orleans Airport Rent A Car Terminal. I returned the car April 10, 2018 in a timely manner and I was told everything is ok and Im good to go. A week letter I received a letter that I have an accident damage to which I am not aware of and I had to pay a damage of over $2, 000.00. I sent an email right after I received the letter and email(six times) already and there was no response. Today I received a collection letter from First Financial Asset Management, Inc. with a Georgia address but the mail has a return address of North Carolina. How can I resolve this issue if they are not responding to my email and letter. I suspect that this is a scam they are running.
    Thank you
    Manny B.

  • Al
      2nd of Aug, 2018
    0 Votes

    @Manny Berena Manny Berena, thank you for bringing this to our attention. I assure you it's never our intention to inconvenience a customer. Please take a moment to email ehiescalationscc@mailca.custhelp.com with your contact information, the exact rental office location, your claims, rental agreement or reservation numbers and the details above so we can address this for you. Thank you. – Carol H.

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